Jersey City Snags $100,000 Grant for Bergen Arches Study

Bergen Arches Bike Path Jersey City
Rendering of bike path through the Bergen Arches. Image courtesy Bergen Arches Preservation Coalition.

An ambitious effort hoping to transform an abandoned rail corridor into a greenway has secured some initial funding to assess the land’s best use for the community.

Jersey City Mayor Steven M. Fulop, along with the Bergen Arches Preservation Coalition (BAPC), announced a $100,000 state grant has been awarded towards a feasibility study of the Bergen Arches. The moniker is the common name for a mile-long stretch formerly utilized by Erie Railroad, which consists of 85-foot-deep tunnels built in 1906 well below street level.

Erie Railroad Cut Jersey City Historic Photo
The former Bergen Arches is the common name for a mile-long stretch formerly utilized by Erie Railroad. Image courtesy Bergen Arches Preservation Coalition.

Train service stopped dropping passengers at a now-demolished Hudson River terminal over 65 years ago and community activists have envisioned a park along the stretch. The BAPC joined the High Line Network two years ago and has been a driving force behind the effort.

“This is a unique opportunity to transform abandoned greenway and turn it into a functional corridor and alternative transportation network to benefit numerous communities,” said Mayor Fulop. “Thanks to Senator [Brian] Stack, Assemblyman [Raj] Mukherji, Councilman [Richard] Boggiano, and the Bergen Arches Preservation Coalition, we are able to move forward on a unique project that would create countless opportunities for residents and employers throughout northern New Jersey.”

Bergen Arches Jersey City Map
Map courtesy Bergen Arches Preservation Coalition

Jersey City hosted a series of community meetings earlier this year to gather public input on the project, with Ward C Councilman Boggiano securing unanimous approval from the City Council for the funding proposal.

Legislation sponsored by Senator Stack and Assemblyman Mukherji will now appropriate the funding to allow for a full evaluation of the abandoned rail corridor and its potential to best serve the surrounding community. Councilman Boggiano says the Bergen Arches study is expected to cost a total $250,000.

Bergen Arches Plan Jersey City
Current photo of the abandoned line. Image courtesy Bergen Arches Preservation Coalition.

Officials hope that any future park at the Bergen Arches can become part of a larger 10-mile-long effort looking to create an uninterrupted greenway spanning from Jersey City to Montclair. Dubbed the Essex-Hudson Greenway, the Bergen Arches portion coupled with a possible Sixth Street Embankment greenery would represent the easternmost sections of the trail.

Despite the hope for greenspace, the funding motion does keep the door open for possible rail uses at the Bergen Arches. Per the resolution, NJ Transit retains ownership of multiple rights-of-way within the Bergen Arches and could potentially use the stretch for a future mass transit project.


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